Agreement Reported on Trade Promotion Authority Bill
Long-awaited legislation aimed at paving the way for congressional approval of pending U.S. trade agreements with European and Pacific Rim countries could now be introduced in early January. Press reports state that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., have reached agreement on principles underlying a trade promotion authority bill, but few details are yet available. One article said the forthcoming bill is expected to cover issues not addressed when TPA was last extended in 2002, including currency manipulation
TPA is designed to establish congressional priorities that the White House takes into account in negotiating trade agreements, which Congress then agrees to approve or reject, without amendment, in a specified timeframe. Obama administration officials have begun to press for TPA more actively as negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 other nations draw toward a close and talks on a pact with the 28-member European Union get fully underway. However, in mid-November nearly two dozen House Republicans and more than 150 House Democrats wrote to the president to express their opposition to TPA.